Quick iPad tip

I wanted to watch the live commentary from the London Chess Classic yesterday but when I loaded the site in Safari it kept redirecting me to a ‘mobile apps/tablets’ page which only showed the boards. It took me a while to think of loading the page in Google Chrome, from there it was a matter of seconds before I was viewing Messrs Trent and Gordon giving commentary in full HD glory. It seems many sites detect Safari and load iDevice specific content, whereas they tend to see Chrome as a normal (ie desktop) device browser.
Hope that helps someone, I’m rooting for all the Brits and Judit Polgar!

Congratulations David Howell, 2013 British Champ!

After clinching the title a round early – having amassed an impressive nine points from ten games – David Howell finished the tournament unbeaten after a draw with Gawain Jones. According to the tournament website David has won the title before when Torquay was also the venue in 2009. David hails from good old East Sussex (home of the mighty Brighton & Hove Chess Club), I reckon he thrives on the sea air, or maybe ice-cream, or something :-)

Howell closing in on British Championship

Going into the penultimate round of the British Championship David Howell is looking good for the title on an excellent 8.0/9.0. Mark Hebden is in second place on 7.0/9.0, meaning he really needs a win today to have any realistic chance to take the overall.
It’s great to see David doing well as I remember seeing him look quite down after a disappointing showing in the London Classic a few years ago. To be fair, he was trying to juggle a student life with chess which was always going to be a compromise, I wonder if he has finished his degree now? Ginger GM Simon Williams has had a tough couple of rounds since my previous post; he lost to David Howell and then lost again yesterday to Hungarian IM Gyula Meszaros (who seems to be playing a strong tournament for his grade). I haven’t looked at any games yet but I’m rather hoping the Simon went down in a blaze of glory ;-)

Oh Mickey you’re so fine!

Just saw on Chessvibes that Mickey Adams won the tournament in Dortmund yesterday, most impressive. Adams continues to play a very high standard of chess and has now moved to number 12 in the live ratings list, there’s hope for us ‘oldies’yet :-)

Meanwhile, things are quite tight in the British championship, David Howell is half a point clear of the field on 5.5 moving in to week 2, today he plays Mark Hebden, one of two chasing players on 5.0. the other being Stephen Gordon. ‘Stevie’ (as he is sometimes referred to by his chum Lawrence in The Full English Breakfast) plays Simon ‘Ginger GM’ Williams today, a promising match-up. Simon is one of a host of players forming a chase group on 4.5 points.

Allez, allez!

UPDATE: 16:24 UK time. Just glanced at the top boards, Simon Williams had just played 16 … f5 , get in there! I’m not sure if it’s good but it seems like his kind of move (echoes of the Dutch) :-)

Kev plays a blinder

I played out of my skin last night against one of our first team players, afterwards I said I’d have a go at posting the game to our club’s web site. Unfortunately the viewer didn’t seem embed properly in Blogger so I thought I would try it here, on my very own blog, which is much in need of a new entry, not to mention some readers …..

Continue reading

Chess engines part 1 – History

I joined my local chess club about four years ago, I’d owned a few dedicated chess computers over the years – and lest we forget, I work in I.T. – so it was inevitable that I was eventually going to purchase a copy of Fritz from Chessbase (Fritz 9 I think it was).  As had happened before with the dedicated machines I owned, I could find no motivation to actually play chess against a computer, but I slowly explored the plethora of functions Fritz had to offer.  I grappled with saving my games to a database (tip for newbies-use ‘replace’ to save changes to a game!) , I learnt the basics of getting Fritz to analyse my games and slowly succumbed to the heroin-like charms of online blitz via the included year’s free membership to Playchess.com (I don’t wish to trivialise the dangers of heroin, but in chess terms blitz is an addictive waste of my life which diminishes my abilities). Continue reading

Chess on YouTube

A digression from mobile devices today.  I hurt my back and neck recently (not too seriously thanks, more a bad strain) so I had to spend a few days at home resting up and avoiding the use of mice and keyboards as these actions tended to aggravate the discomfort.  Fortunately my internet savvy TV provided some chess related entertainment! Continue reading

Shredder mobile

Shredder is available on all platforms and is consistently good. If you are in doubt what chess software to buy then Shredder is probably the one to go for, it has a pleasing interface with a nice chess set, includes the ability to play the computer (of course), it is quite straightforward to enter moves and setup positions, you can analyse then save and e-mail games in .pgn format, and as a big bonus it has a set of tactical problems. All these features makes it a brilliant all-rounder. Continue reading

Welcome!

Hello, good evening and welcome ……

… to my geeky chess-related blog.  It seems ‘geeks’ are almost cool now so maybe I don’t need to apologize for the moniker, but hand-in-hand with ‘chess’ the title ‘geekchess’ may conjure up some unfortunate stereotypes.  Fear not, I am human, and whilst perhaps not über-cool I’m certainly a rounded individual with at least a modicum of dress sense (there is another reason for use of the word geek which is related to my name, see more in ‘about’).

Technology and chess are by no means the only interests in my life, but chess software from a user’s perspective is an area in which I have garnered some knowledge and having explored the chess options on various gadgets I thought it would be fun to share my views.  Chess players are relatively spoilt these days; for quite a while now personal computers have given access to Grandmaster-rated opponents, extensive databases, learning tools and online play.  As I have recently been using various chess software offerings on several mobile platforms I thought this would be a good place to start, but I never stick to one subject for too long so in time I hope to cover lots of other ‘geekchess’ stuff. For one thing,  like much of the chess world I have woken up to the fact that Fritz is not the only chess engine in town and I am particularly interested at the moment in the use of remote chess engines.  Ultimately for chess players MS Windows is the operating system that is most extensively supported so there will be plenty of PC related stuff, mostly Windows-based with possibly a bit of Linux software if I get time (Macs don’t really cut it here I’m afraid, I don’t have one to try but Shredder is about the only decent offering I’ve seen available for OS X, and I’m basing that opinion on the mobile versions).  Chess servers will get a mention shortly as part of my overview of mobile applications, but they deserve consideration in their own right; other topics that spring to mind include good chess websites, live event coverage on the internet and Kindle books.

The ability to play live opponents - via an internet server – on a smartphone or tablet device is a potential nirvana hitherto associated with expensive dreams of DGT sensory boards (look, I know this sounds sad, but if you are into chess you WILL understand).  I think we are approaching the point where a tablet could be the ideal chess players tool, and following on from the advent of smartphones this means that - for me at least – chess on mobile apps is a hot topic.  I’ve recently moved from carrying an Apple iTouch to an Android phone, and have acquired a part share in an iPad 2, so I am fairly ambivalent as to the platform used and will try to remain impartial (at least until someone offers me a wad of cash to be biased).  Research has shown me that whilst it’s not too hard to find a list of, say, ’the best 5 iPhone chess apps’, there are not too many (if any) comparative guides as to the merits of apps across the platforms.  I believe I possess most if not all of the best apps out there, so my next posts will cover these.  Ultimately I hope to post some useful feature tables to make it easier to assess whether a particular piece of software is likely to meet your needs.

Thanks for reading, next post soon!